81 Special

GLJ

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I am for now the proud owner of a 81 Special. 2 years in the making. Story on the purchase. 2 years ago went on a local November 10th ride. Ran into a old friend I had not seen in many years. Got to talking to him and mentioned I was messing with 650 Yamaha's. Turns out he has 2 Specials he would like to get rid of. Both have titles Asked how much, he wouldn't put a price on them. No price no real interest. Plus not big into Specials. I would run into every now and then and same thing no price. About 6 weeks ago he stopped by my house. Said he wants to rid of them. He's got too many projects. He finally put a price on them. Ok I'll come look. Few days later rode up to his house and took a look. They are barn finds. Neither will run. He said he had the 81 running the day before. Like I said not much into Specials. So I shot him a price. No go. Dodged a bullet. Trouble is the 81 intrigued me, odometer showed 973 miles. Ran into him last week on the November 10th ride. Got to talking and shot him a price on just the 81. I'll be damned he took it even said he would deliver it.
He delivered it this morning with title in hand. Title matches the bike. Good shape but very rough. Bone stock I think. Even has keys not 1 but 2. The chain is still in the lower right side compartment. It is unmolested. Tank has some rust in it but I've saved far worse. I have to believe the odometer is correct. 973 miles.
So now what am I going to do with it?
1 of 2 things. First if anyone wants a rough but very low mileage 81 Special PM me. I'm working on another project. If I still have it when I get caught up on the other project I'm working on I'll give it a very sympathetic resurrection. Rebuild the brakes, new tires, clean up the rust as best it will, rebuild carbs and spit and polish everything else. Try not to spend money except on mechanical stuff and try and to keep mission creep to a minimum. In other words end up with a nice running Special that mechanically needs nothing.


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GLJ

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Forgot to add. Shot some oil in the cylinders and rolled it over a few times. Left it set while I charged up a used battery I have that will fit it.
Battery so so charged did a compression test. 130 ish both sides also has very good spark. I believe clean the tank and carbs and she will run.
 

Mailman

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GLJ

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Vincenthdfan

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Thats certainly worth tidying up and making a nice rider out of it. It looks like its got great bones for sure.

The other, crustier one? Looks a like a great Street Tracker candidate! :bike:
 

5twins

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I like the '81's, last year for the pull knob choke (which I prefer over the cable operated one), and that one year only rear drum mag. I really do like spoke wheels but if I had a drum rear mag, I'd run the mags. They did add that clutch switch and relay, but it's easy enough to remove and bypass .....

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GLJ

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Since I came to a stopping point on my other project I moved things around in my shop and started on the Special. I want to get the engine running before I work on the rest of it. So carbs up first. Pulled them off and got them apart. Pulling them off kind of sucked as I had to remove the rubber manifolds to get them out. Don't have to do that on 38s on early frames.
I'm going to say I would much rather work on BS38 carbs than these BS34 linked carbs. Never have had to use a hand impact or a drill on BS38s to get them apart. It looked like someone had tried to get them apart before, I think they failed. Not sure if it was the guy I bought it from or the guy before him. Really doesn't matter. Had to use a hammer and hand impact on the screws holding the angle plate that holds them together. Got 2 of them out on 1 carb so I could get them apart, the other 2 on the other carb I turned a 1/4 turn and still will not turn with a screwdriver. So after splitting the carbs got the float bowls off. Neither float pin would move. Damn. Went to getting the idle air screws out. Still had the anti-tamper plugs above them. They were some serious anti-tamper plugs. Drilled them out and tried to get several different wood/sheetmetal crews to bite in them enough to pull them out. No luck. Ended up drilling them out till I could use the I/A screw to back them out. The solid brass plug measured 4mm thick. Luckily the had a very small hole down the middle to use as a pilot.
Going to let the carb bodies soak overnight in my ultrasonic tank and see if the float pins come loose.
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DogBunny

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The float pins are a pain on 80 and up. As I recall, they are an interference fit. They slide on until the very end, then the pin diameter increases (right at the pin head). Soaking won't help unless they are covered with varnish. I also use an automatic center punch, usually with a little heat. And, I usually build some kind of a jig to support the post nearest the pin head -- that's the post that has that interference fit.
 

5twins

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gggGary

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I do like Gary does, but I use a real tool, lol, a 3/32" Craftsman pin punch.
Them drywall screws are prolly harder'n that pin punch, just say'n.
Ho-made or go home, LOL
Like to show it don't always take fancy tools, just a bit of thinkering. (a new word I just made up!)
 
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